As a more senior individual I have told myself I will not be that old curmudgeon sitting on the front porch whining about the changing world. However, as Simba was told in the Lion King, it is the circle of life (laugh). Moving up in years gives you a perspective on things. As for me, I hope it is a perspective based in love and wisdom. I hope my thoughts come across, not as ranting, but as thoughtful, respectful, and poignant reflections. My thoughts this morning are related to the concept of Kingdom values and wealth creation.
As I look around I am concerned that many of the believing community are hoping that by using worldly systems, such as politics, they can bring about the Kingdom of God on earth. If there is one thing I have learned in my life, it is that we cannot trust the world to have God’s best interest in heart. Those who think they can create the Church in political movements will find themselves sorely disappointed. Politics will never replace spirituality.
When it comes to Biblical values and wealth creation we are on a safe and solid foundation, any other is sinking sand. In Romans 12:2 we are told by the Apostle Paul, to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Therefore, what would be those renewed understanding of wealth creation?
Obviously, in God’s economy we are not accumulating wealth for our selfish pleasure, but creating wealth for the good of those around us. Yesterday I wrote about the values of efficiency, entrepreneurship, and self-responsibility, and today I will write about the “big-picture” context of how Christians should think Biblically about wealth creation in relation to culture” (Lausanne). There are specific “attitudes” that wealth creators should pay attention to the process of global wealth creation.
As I demonstrated yesterday there are values that transcend culture. Those are the values, characteristics, or truths reflected within the actions of God. As a believer, I get this and embrace this, however, others are a bit more diffident. Rushworth Kidder, from the Institute for Global Ethics, was one of those individuals who wanted to see observationally if there were common cross-cultural values. His research identified several cross-cultural absolutes: honesty, responsibility, respect, fairness and compassion. I have discussed his work for years in my classes. I think the above are critical characteristics that play a role in the appropriate view of wealth creation, but I also think God demonstrates characteristics that transcend culture and should be identified as we discus wealth creation.
Nobody likes corruption. In fact, one of the most devastating characteristics of governance is corruption. Many poorer countries throughout the world are negatively impacted by the corruption of their leaders. As we see throughout scripture God is a God of integrity. What He says He will do is what He does. Wealth creators need to be people of and practice integrity. A second characteristic involves hard work.
Proverbs 24:33 warns that “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.” Thus, hard work, characterized by God is another wealth creation absolute that transcends culture.
As I have stated in my blogs, every organization needs to be run effectively and efficiently to have something left over so it can buy new equipment, give raises, etc. In other words, there needs to be profit. In Matthew 25 we are told about the parable of the talents. Using our resources to create surplus is a positive value. By creating this surplus, wealth, poverty can be defeated. Lausanne/BAM has “identified three poverty eradication myths: we can donate people out of poverty, urban-centered industrial growth and national GDP will solve rural poverty, and big business will end poverty.” I will develop each of these at a later date.
Lastly, and as I constantly state over and over in this blog, good business means good relationships. “Biblical wealth creation not only prioritizes profit, it prioritizes relationships.” As a Christian I see wealth creation not as concerned about money as much as on what that money can do. It can provide new jobs, better wages, more taxes to fund schools, and much more. Jeffery Sachs demonstrates the power of profit in the ability of communities to improve economically, socially, and educationally in his wonderful book “Poverty.” It is well worth the read.
Over the last year, too many of us who are a part of the Church have looked to the world to create solutions via political mechanisms. Others within the Church have attempted to use Marxist philosophy advocating the creation of a benevolent state to solve our national problems. In both cases we will be horribly disappointed. It is time to repent and allow our minds to be renewed to find solutions to our problems that will work. Time for me to get to work, I hope the same will be true for you.
And that is my thought for the day!